Wertfrei Wednesday: Depression and Suicide


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The Month of August ‘Wertfrei Wednesday’ posts were going to be about returning to school issues facing Mom’s, Dads, undergraduate and post graduate education. With the very public discovery and reporting of Robin Williams’ suicide, we can’t help but discuss the correlation. Not everyone who has depression commits suicide, but depression is a very serious illness that society must stop stigmatizing.

None of us can fathom the fears and failures of Robin Williams, the one person on earth who looked to have everything at his fingertips. Beloved, wanted-even his friends have publically stated how much joy he gave them, how much heart.  They also have stated they knew he had depression, a sadness around the eyes most of his life. Others in the spotlight have publicly shared their depression: Newsman Mike Wallace, Former Second Lady Tipper Gore, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, even Football players Terry Bradshaw and Earl Campbell, all battled depression at one point in their lives.

Depression is often an embarrassing, humiliating disease that people do not want others to know, oftentimes further secluding themselves or hiding. Why do they hide? They fear ridicule from peers, parents; they fear social pariah status; they fear the unknown. They get caught up in memories of failures, transgressions, feeling unloved and unwanted.  As a young teenager, I battled depression myself and attempted suicide. My Mom really stepped up and put the family in therapy, I have battled depression, on and off, throughout my own life.

Hopefully, depression will be discussed rationally and with compassion in society, among professionals, in gyms, sports teams, military. I would like to see more intervention programs, more compassion from society for those of us battling depression, better outreach.  I would love to see stigma die instead of people who see no other way out. Remember, you are loved.

Depression comes in all colors, shapes and sizes.

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